The numerous job platforms developed over the last 20 years led to a transition in job hunting practices, which now takes place almost exclusively online. Among them, Indeed is the most popular in the world, with around 600 million unique visitors per month. This popularity is perfect for employers to generate traffic on their job postings and maximize their chances of reaching the candidate they are looking for. The downside is that job postings on Indeed are likely to get a few hundred applicants, which can rapidly become overwhelming for companies.
To help screen candidates and save time in the recruitment process, Indeed introduced the screening questions. These are questions employers design that applicants answer along with providing their resumes. Questions are designed to filter candidates meeting your expectations without even going through their resumes. Indeed offers many possibilities, including yes/no questions, multiple-choice, or open-ended questions. Using this feature smartly can be a considerable gain of time. Here are some of our best tips to make the most of Indeed screening questions as an employer.
Always consider the candidate's experience when designing a job application process. Anyone would feel discouraged by a long list of questions and an endless application process. Candidates would likely give up on their application even if they were a great fit. On Indeed, the maximum number of pages for a job application process is generally no more than five, including the resume and cover letter uploading page. That means you can include around 5 or 6 screening questions maximum.
Indeed offers the possibility to automatically disqualify a candidate if their answer to one of the questions does not match your requirements. However, while this can be time-saving when facing a large number of applicants, do not set too high requirements either, or you might end up with no candidates at all. Also keep in mind that lying to these questions is easier than lying in a resume: a candidate perfectly answering all your questions is not necessarily the best person for the job.
Define Your “Must-Haves”
Screening questions are about narrowing down applicants to the ones you will interview. The automatic application process in Indeed is so easy that sometimes people apply to any job without even looking at what it is about. These questions are an excellent filter to eliminate this type of candidate since they will not waste time answering if they are not genuinely interested in the position. The applications you will receive are therefore likely to be only serious ones. In the case where your role requires a specific degree or certification, screening questions about education enable spotting these candidates at first glance.
- “What is your highest level of education?”
- “Do you have a [insert name] certificate?”
- “Are you able to communicate in French?”
Ask about Experience
If you are getting an overwhelming number of applications, including a question about experience is a must to filter candidates. While this is definitely relevant for qualified or senior positions, it might be counterproductive for entry-level ones. Someone without experience but motivated and willing to learn will be more valuable to your company than someone with experience who doesn’t care about the job. Take a moment to honestly evaluate if experience is necessary for the role and decide whether or not to disqualify inexperienced candidates.
- “How many years of experience do you have in [field]”
- "Do you have experience working with [software]?"
- “Describe your work experience in [field]”
Experience is not the only relevant aspect to consider when screening candidates. Some people might not have much experience but are passionate and dedicated to their career. You have to understand what motivates the candidate in the position you offer. Questions about motivation are particularly relevant for roles in contact with customers since candidates should demonstrate a genuine interest in helping, giving advice, and offering a positive experience. This is also the time to evaluate if the candidate did some research about your company and is aligned with its mission and values.
- “Why do you want to work for [company]?”
- “What do you like about [field]?”
- “Why do you think you are a good fit for this role?”
Include a Situational Question
While hard skills are required for most positions, soft skills also largely contribute to a candidate's success. In customer service, for example, there are essential qualities you should be looking for when screening applicants. Evaluating a soft skill is not possible with a Yes/No question. However, an open-ended or multiple-choice question could help you understand how the candidate would deal with a situation relevant to your business. These "situational questions" are primarily used during interviews to evaluate if a candidate can deal with challenges associated with a job, but they can totally be part of your screening process.
- “What would you do if [situation] happens?”
- “How do you deal with hostile customers?”
- “Tell me about a situation where you took the initiative to fix a problem”
Ask about Availability
Imagine that you carefully screened resumes and found the perfect candidate. Unfortunately, you find out during the interview that this person is not available for any of the shifts you need them for. You would have lost precious time in your hiring process. To avoid this situation, take advantage of the screening questions to ask about availability. This way, you can see if their schedule fits yours and know if they are open to working on weekends, nights, or early mornings if your position requires it. If your recruitment is urgent, consider asking applicants when they would be available to start working for you. Some people have to give notice to their current employer, which could delay their start date and be problematic for you.
- “What is your availability?”
- “Which shifts are you available for?”
- “Are you available to work on weekends?”
Start Preparing for a Possible Interview
The last question of your application process should be dedicated to preparing for a possible interview. Indeed has thought about everything and includes as a premade question “list 2-3 dates and times you could do an interview”. Although it is not a question aimed at screening candidates, asking it is a smart move. If you are considering interviewing someone, you will be able to directly offer an interview date that suits both of you. It saves you the time-consuming process of exchanging emails to set a date.
- “Are you available for an interview on the [date]”
- “List 2-3 dates and times you could do an interview”
Indeed is an excellent tool for job seekers and employers alike. To counteract the large number of applications generated by its popularity, Indeed introduced the screening questions feature. These simple questions help employers target the most suitable candidates without going through resumes. Including this step in an application process is becoming more common, so make sure you are using them to your advantage by following these tips.
If you have a position to fill but are struggling to find suitable candidates for the job, Canada Talents can help you. We use our expertise to define the best strategy, help you write an attractive job description, or take care of the process ourselves and screen candidates before presenting them to you. Whatever your project is, contact us at email@example.com to discuss the solution best fitting your needs.